Will Failing To Eat Enough Lead To Malnutrition On A Raw Diet, And How Can I Learn To Eat More.

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Will Failing To Eat Enough Lead To Malnutrition On A Raw Diet, And How Can I Learn To Eat More.

Reader Question:

Hey Andrew,

First of all, I am thoroughly enjoying your site and book. Awesome work.

I am a newbie on the raw food diet and have been experiencing difficulty keeping up with calorie requirements. My suggested daily caloric intake according to nutridiary.com is about 2,400 calories including those burned from general activity.

I've been on the diet 3 days now and I'm finding it hard to reach even half of that. I feel like I'm eating a lot of food and I'm not starving either, but I'm scared the low calorie intake may lead to malnutrition. Do you have any tips to start meeting that daily quota?

Andrew's Answer:

The issue of malnutrition in the sense of a deficiency brought about by a lack of nutrients isn't likely to be an problem here.

Even if you're failing to eat enough calories (calories can be considered a nutrient, btw) on a healthy lowfat raw food diet based around greens and fruit, you're taking in many times the amount of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other nutrients when compared to a Standard American Diet, or even a cooked vegan or unhealthy raw food diet.

There are several problems you're likely to run into, however.

1) If you're dramatically undereating for a lengthy period of time, you may drop more weight than you intend, leading you to fall into that raw food category I like to refer to as "painfully thin."

If you're overweight right now, you might not mind at first, but eventually you have to find a steady weight to stay at. Continuous weight loss isn't sustainable.

2) Very few people can dramatically undereat on calories for a lengthy period of time and remain raw. This is because cravings set in sooner or later. The types of foods you'll crave will likely be calorically dense and unhealthy, and in the face of ever-increasing temptation, you'll fall off the wagon.

You can learn about the two major issues behind cravings here.

Learning To Eat Enough:

If you're finding eating enough difficult because your stomach is full or you find yourself not desiring more food, and you're running into one or more of the above problems, you'll need to work on both your stomach's capacity to expand and your perceptions of what a normal meal looks like.

Most people who have been eating cooked, processed, high-calorie foods all their life start raw food diets with stomachs that are atrophied from never being expanded.

However, our stomachs are meant to stretch, and they expand when we continuously feed ourselves healthier quantities of food.

The best way to approach this is to start every meal with the conviction that you will eat several fruits more than you would normally be comfortable doing. Over time you'll find that your stomach can accommodate ever-larger amounts of food comfortably.

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